2014 Jaguar XFRS – A man’s best friend

I have had the pleasure of driving the XFRS for about a week, nearly 3 weeks ago. The reason I started writing this review now is because I did not want to write it emotionally, which alone, says a lot about the Jaguar XFRS.

The first day or two people would ask me, “Jaguars come like that now?” and I was considering having that as the theme for this review, but after a week with the car, there is a lot more to this car than that. Thus, the new theme is “A man’s best friend” which I believe really is what makes this Jaguar special.

Huge thanks to Jaguar & Weber Shandwick for this amazing opportunity.

Before  specific details, let me just say that I never believed people who said things like “Once a Jag, always a JagFnd “Jaguar drivers have something special people won’t understand” because I saw that every car has a personality of its own; Some cars get close to your heart and some don’t, but this Jaguar is like a loyal dog, you don’t simply like it, you love it.

I tested many cars and some are faster,  more technologically advanced, more comfortable, more beautiful, more spacious, and more luxurious, but this is one of the very few cars that after leaving, I would turn back and consider another drive.

Jaguar XFRS Introduction

Before jumping into Jaguar’s most powerful sports salon ever, the XF line from Jaguar is a beautiful car, especially with its new facelift and I believe it is a good option for people looking to sway away from German options. They come in many forms starting from a 2 litre, turbo-charged 4 cylinder all the way up to the 5 litre, supercharged 8 cylinder XFRS!

The XFRS’s heart pumps out 550HP with 680NM of torque, which is enough grunt to get it off the line to 100KMPH in 4.6 seconds coupled with its 8 speed automatic transmission and will continue to scream up to 300KMPH while seating 4 rather comfortably. Everything about this car screams performance! High “Performance” brakes, “Performance” quad exhaust, etc

A question that car enthusiasts will ask is, who is this directly pitched at. I would love to say BMW M5/M6 Grandcoupe, Mercedes E63/CLS63 AMG & Audi RS6, but simply put, the XFRS is a bit of an old player underneath all the new looks & does not have enough performance to beat them in numbers, but by all means, do not think this car is not an astounding sports salon, or be foolish to think it’s slow!

The XFRS on the outside

Aggressive? that was the point!

You certainly do not need to notice the R-S badge to realize this is a sports salon. Every slight detail has elements of sportiness! See the slit in the bottom side air intakes? It goes all the way up above the headlights over the front shoulder, through the lower door-line, all the way to the back. The LED Daylight running lights are large and grab a lot of attention (Only issue I had was, when the lights are left in automatic mode, the LED’s did not turn on during the day), and that is even before you realize there is Carbon Fiber in every corner! The front-center intake is in Carbon Fiber for starters

Jaguar XFRS - Supercharged Air Outlet On HoodThe hood has two beautiful nostrils, also in Carbon Fiber with a beautiful “Supercharged” badge on them.

Jaguar XFRS - Front Rims & BrakesWhere does all the power go? The rear wheels! It has 4 Pirelli P-Zero tires that are very grippy! The XFRS is very tail happy, and loves to convert the 550HP into sideways action, so be careful!

The brakes are enormous with 380mm discs at the front and 376mm discs at the rear; and let me tell you, plenty of stopping power and such a confidence booster for, you know, play time. The rims are super aggressive and are 20 inch Varuna allow wheels. Keeping in mind Variable Dampers gives a great feel when in sport mode and you’re always reassured of where the tires are.

Jaguar XFRS - Carbon Fiber Side PanelMissed the carbon fiber on the front or the rear? There are side-gills, in Carbon Fiber and so are the side mirrors!

Jaguar XFRS - Rear ViewMoving around to the back, the aggressiveness continues with the 295mm wide rear tires being very visible, quad performance sports exhausts with sounds that are to-die-for! The XFRS might not be the loudest car out there, but its perfectly tuned roar is unmistakably coming from a throaty sports car. The rear diffuser is also in Carbon Fiber, no surprises there!

Moving towards the top, there are LED lights which are the outlined shape of the rear lights and an aggressive deck-lid spoiler.

Jaguar XFRS - Rear Left AngleThe car has a beautiful stance, certainly something very unique. Especially in this region, everyone is far too familiar with German, American & Japanese cars, and when they see something as unique as a Jaguar in such a sporty stance, they glance, a lot!

This is actually one of the biggest factors I fell in love with, the car is not a typical sight and people are always curious.

 The XFRS on the inside

If you thought there was a lot of Carbon Fiber on the outside, check this out!

Jaguar XFRS - Interior ViewThe age of the XF starts to show on the inside. Surely, they have done a crazy lot to make this a super sport sedan (Hint: Carbon Fiber) but the overall layout, is still a couple of years behind. Everything is nicely laid out, easy to use and clear, which is great, but it won’t blow any minds.

Jaguar XFRS - Front CockpitIt may sound like I’ve been disappointed, but I actually am not. Let me explain, A lot of modern day cars have a lot of technology, their own individual way of doing things, which sometimes is successful and sometimes a total failure but they have moved so far from the norm, that the Jaguar way is actually, rather nice to have!

Have you tried cruise control in a modern day car? It would involve some wizardry with a stalk by pulling, pushing, twisting if not more. How is it on the Jaguar? It’s on the right side of the steering wheel, simply roll the wheel up and the speed was set. You have two more options, to resume and to cancel. I like that!

There is enough space in the front for two people to sit comfortably, lovely center console that is easy to use and solid. Which brings me to the build quality of this car, it is superb. Everything you touch is either leather, metal or carbon fiber, very well made.

Jaguar XFRS - Front SeatsThe front seats are all electric, air conditioned, memory seats with plenty of body support, for those hard corners when you take the XFRS for a run. On the top there is a lovely R-S badge on each seat, and see the trim? Carbon Fabric.

Jaguar XFRS - Carbon Fiber & Carbon FabricAt first I wasn’t too sure about the Carbon Fiber and Carbon Fabric, but I got to say, in few days, it all comes together and looks like a hypercar’s cockpit. Need more proof of how well this car is made? All the Carbon Fabric’s lines match up between the stitching.

Jaguar XFRS - Instrument ClusterThe XFRS simplicity is seen everywhere. The gauges are simple and basic, with a driver information screen in the middle with a few options like average speeds, fuel economy, current speed and mode selection. Outside temperature and clock are mostly permanent, unless in sport manual mode. No temperature gauges but I guessing it is safe to assume, it will warn you somehow when overheated.

Jaguar XFRS - Centre Console
The center console is a thing of beauty, it starts up top with two air vents and the infotainment screen. A very cool and unique aspect of the XFRS is when the air condition is switched off, the vents flip closed!

The system is fully touch screen with only 4 physical buttons, Menu, Phone, Navigation & Power (to turn the screen off). Beside those buttons are the central door lock buttons. Who still does those?

Under the CD slot are audio controls, and an array of air conditioning buttons to control air flow zones, temperature, fan speed and seat cooling/heating.

Now comes the drive controls, which I really want to discuss. First of all, the circular dial? It rises up once the car starts and the drive mode is selected by turning it clockwise or anti-clockwise. The engine start/stop button sits ahead of it and glows in red till you start the car up.

Below that sits 4 buttons, Snow mode, traction control, ASL (Automatic Speed Limiter, which is great to avoid speeding tickets) and Dynamic Mode (which I almost always had on!) And finally, the electronic hand brake.

The thing I wanted to discuss was the drive mode selector, I can understand it being that way on a standard vehicle, but I believe sporty sedans deserve a sportier alternative. Something else I found to be troubling is how easy it was to switch over between selections and this can be done from any point to almost any point, even while driving. Yes, you can go to reverse while driving at 100KMPH. It does not activate but I didn’t like that it could! Make sure the kids are in the back.

Jaguar XFRS - Interior FeaturesMany elements that make this car special on the inside, and it even comes with a lovely Meridian sound system with 17 speakers all around the cabin!

Jaguar XFRS - Entertainment SystemThe infotainment system does seem a little, unmodern. Everything that is currently active appears on the screen at one time, which I like (Bottom right image) and selecting each of the three available selections open the other images above. It really is pretty much just that. The car does have TV reception, which didn’t seem to work anywhere for me. The system is very easy to use and is basic, which isn’t an issue to begin with.

I believe that the majority of people see that Jaguars are purchased by older people, but I believe they should start utilizing modern technology for cars like the XFRS, because more people are purchasing Jaguars these days, and they aren’t 50+.

Jaguar XFRS - Roof LineThe roofline has a jet suedecloth and has no sunroof. Lighting controls are touch sensitive and the top has controls to turn the parking sensors on or off along with the rear blinds.

Jaguar XFRS - Reversing CameraSpeaking of the parking sensors, the XFRS has a rear view camera with guide lines.

This reminds me of a major issue I had with the XFRS, parking! Most parking lots, especially in Dubai, have a long block before the pavement, with the intention that the car’s tires would touch that and stop before hitting the pavement. This is great but on the XFRS the front sensors do not detect that and being that the car’s front is low, you will touch the Carbon Fiber and scratch it!

How she drives

Amazing? no.. Astonishing? perhaps.. Breath-taking? Yeah.. I guess I can go with that.

Jaguar XFRS - Front Left Angle

The Jaguar XFRS isn’t without fault, but it is one nice car to drive! Let me start with some of the drawbacks; Although the gearbox is really good, 8 speed automatic with Jaguar sequential shift is indeed a great gearbox, unless I drove it in full dynamic sport mode, shifting manually, it was a tad slow at times when I really needed it to be there quickly. I am sure the XFRS could get off the line quicker!

The XFRS is also quite a big car in general, and sometimes when there are tight corners around the passenger side, it gets a bit harder to maneuver.

Now for some of amazing driving dynamics of the XFRS; The chasis is beautiful, the car rides really well (sightly stiff in dynamic mode) but very composed at all times. The car is very tail happy, especially with traction control off, but it drives beautifully and is very controlled even with the tail wagging! There are slight signs of its age compared to its modern counterparts but there is nothing aged about the smile it puts on your face when you’re pushing it harder and harder, it does not say no to anything.

The car is very stable at all times, nearly no body roll and the steering wheel is just the right weight, size and feel for such a sporty front engined sedan. Under hard cornering there is a bit of understeer at times and the nose does dip with braking increasing understeer, and surely on a track this is countered by your right foot, but on the streets, its something to be aware off.

Fun. Fun. Fun.

Jaguar XFRS - Front Half View

After a week with the XFRS I have become really close to this car. I started to understand its personality and began to fall in love with the car. It looks stunning, drives people’s curiosity, has touches of classic expected norms, has enough space for 4 people, a decent boot,  550HP from a brilliant 5.0 litre v8 supercharged engine,  and a roar that makes you forget everything you’ve just read!

In love with a Jag.

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